Pubs and restaurants warn of winter closures as energy bills soar 300%

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“On Friday, the government saw fit to declare a drought, in the face of compelling evidence that the weather conditions had posed a threat to the nation. The energy crisis is no less of a threat and deserves similar attention,” said the letter from UK Hospitality, the Night Time Industries Association, the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the Music Venue Trust. .

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declined to comment.

A recent survey shows that one in four hotel bosses are considering closing due to higher bills. The sector provides 10% of jobs in the UK and is responsible for 5% of GDP.

Alan Morgan, chief executive of Bella Italia owner The Big Table Group, said support had “never been more critical”, with rising energy prices so strong “that it is bringing many reasonable businesses to strive for profit”. . Mr Morgan said he expected ‘a significant number of closures across the industry’.

Clive Watson, chairman of the City Pub Group, said there “needs to be a price cap or else pubs will start closing over the winter”.

Many companies have already drawn up plans to reduce their energy consumption during the winter months, with hotels supposedly considering closing spas or mothballing certain floors. Theater managers are wondering if they can change the amount of lighting or air conditioning they use in theaters to try to lower their energy bills.

Ali Carnegie, managing director of energy broker Total Energy Solutions, said companies trying to sign new energy deals were “shocked to see how much prices have risen”.

“These are companies that then have to look at what they can close, and what staff to lose because it’s not sustainable.”

Over the weekend it emerged that some energy companies were pushing for a bailout fund to reduce household bills as energy costs soared in the economy.

ScottishPower and Eon have proposed a plan to cap bills at current levels for two years and fund the shortfall with wholesale energy prices through billions of pounds in bank loans.

The loans would be repaid over 10 to 15 years, the Sunday Times reported, and funded either by a levy on consumers’ bills or through taxes.

A spokesperson for Energy UK said: “Given the forecast for the winter and next year, the Government must consider all options on the table to reduce customer bills.

“Suppliers will continue to do all they can to support customers, but the magnitude of these bill increases far exceeds the industry’s ability to provide all the assistance needed – so we need to consider interventions of a magnitude that will make a real difference.”

Such an intervention would not be targeted, which could mean that everyone would benefit, even those who do not need help with their bills.

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